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I'm doing complete overhaul and service of my bike and it is time to service Manitou Minute fork and Manitou Radium shock. They both work fine but they have never been serviced (at least for two years as long as I have this bike, and I think they are 2012 or 2013 models :). Problem is, there is no specialized service for Manitou products in my country and there are no replacement parts available.

My options are limited to taking my shocks to Fox/RockShox service but they have no replacement parts for Manitou and I guess I can expect they'll be able to clean all parts and change oil.

  • Should I send my shocks to such service (cleaning, changing oil and returning old parts) or it is waste of money and risk of something going wrong?
  • Or, should I continue to use shocks as they are now, until they stop working properly? What are the risks and problems I can except if I don't service shocks for such a long time?

Edit: (Since the question might be unclear): Is it better to do improvised service of shocks or no service at all?

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    I'm a bit of a tinkerer so after watching a good few YouTube videos and getting what I believe to be the right tools and oils I took it upon myself to give it an overhaul. Took a while to get through it but so so worth it. I now have a significantly better stroke to the fork and a better ride as a result. I'd say go for it yourself, even if you have to get your LBS to help out. It's worth getting in there and seeing how it all works. – Chris Oct 30 '16 at 20:51
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There's three basic reasons to service your fork: (1) it's not working correctly and something is broken (2) it's working poorly and needs service to replace worn parts (3) it's working fine and you want to keep it that way, i.e. recommended service interval

If it's #1 and maybe #2 you're kind of in a bind if you can't get replacement parts. The most common issue is worn or torn seals leading to leaks or air/dirt infiltration. You can't fix these and sizing is usually proprietary. If you're interested and confident you might as well take it apart to determine the issue. Just remember a poorly working fork is still better than one scattered in pieces around your shop!

If it's #3 you can likely do this service yourself without issues. The most common and frequent service is going to be replacing the oil and giving it a good clean. I'm not familiar with this particular fork but the damper assemblies are typically (a) complicated, (b) require semi-specialized tools (picks, lock-ring pliers, etc) and (c) don't need frequent service.

IMPORTANT! I Don't know if you have the air or coil sprung version, but if air you must remove all pressure prior to taking the fork apart! The Minute (air version) uses air in both the damping and spring - 2 separate schrader valves to relieve pressure.

As a general rule of thumb if you're having mechanical issues (play in the fork, "clunking", lack of travel/return) it's likely adjustment/tightening or something is broken/worn (bushings tend to wear and then do a poor job). If it's sticky, or sounds "wheezey" it's probably lubrication and seal related - this is within the realm of the do it yourself-er.

One final tip - often suspension uses crush washers and other "one time" sealing systems. If you don't have any spare parts be very careful when taking out bolts so you can hopefully match anything you'll need.

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